The Aston Down Action Group (ADAG) was formed in 2004 to encourage local community involvement in the decision making process concerned with an application for development of the ex-MoD Depot at Aston Down. The group now have a membership of around 200 but as with all action groups it is effectively managed by just a handful of these members. Since those early days ADAG have experienced the need to extend its activates to encompass more controversial planning applications under their umbrella and ADAG’s foray into the development control system now includes other applications for development that we consider are contrary to the aims and objectives of the Development Plan and “The conservation and enhancement of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural
Aston Down. Application for Change of Use of Buildings and Land to B1 B2 B8 and sui generis uses.
ADAG has campaigned strongly against the proposed employment development at Aston Down, which is situated in open countryside amongst the gently rolling hills of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
This has not been an easy task. Firstly we had to work hard to overcome strong opposition from the LPA that the site was Major Development. Then once the applications had to be re advertised to comply with planning regulations ADAG had to use considerable effort to make the Local Planning Authority (LPA) accept that the 146 acre site required an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Eventually the LPA agreed and in 2006 an Environmental Statement (ES) was issued alongside a new planning application. ADAG put considerable time into reviewing this Statement and found many areas were poor and unacceptable A Supplementary to this ES was later submitted with subsequent further information. All of which we reviewed diligently.
We have uncovered some disingenuous distortions of the local planning process and have even exposed the LPA misinforming Counsel about a material fact. Nonetheless in the end the Planning Committee voted to refuse the application, which was just the first rung up the ladder of our fight.
As was expected the Applicant Leda properties Ltd and Leda Properties Pension Fund appealed against the planning decisions and subsequent enforcement notices. ADAG are Rule 6 participants in the Inquiry process. And as a result we are able to keep abreast of the situation as it enfolds. All Statements of Case were submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by Dec 6th 07 and the appellants further submitted another Statement in Jan. Within days of this new submission we were informed that the Appeal Inquiry had been called in by the Secretary of State.
ADAG is concerned at this intervention and cannot give an explanation to its Members as to why the SoS would make the effort to call in something of such minor significance compared to the Docks and Harbours, Motorways and Trunk Roads; Nuclear Power Stations and Airport Terminals, which have previously formed the projects called in by the SoS. We are also aware that despite considerable opposition from local Parish Councils and Councillors; these representatives of the local communities have not been notified of this intervention.
Despite the now high profile of the case we are determined to continue to argue against this proposed development and armed with another Revision of the ES, mountains of paper work and reams of planning case law, we battle on like David against Goliath and trust in God that honesty and integrity in the end will triumph.
We will keep you informed through these pages.
If you need to contact me you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org